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Ninety Percent of All Vaccine Preventable Deaths Occur in Those 65 and Older According to Highlighted Studies in the December Patient Safety Advisory
Date:12/1/2009

The Patient Safety Authority Encourages Older Persons and Healthcare Workers to Get Immunized and Offers New Consumer Tips Based Upon Authority Data

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ninety percent of all vaccine preventable deaths occur in those 65 and older, including residents in nursing homes, according to highlighted studies in the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority's 2009 December Patient Safety Advisory.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), vaccination remains the best approach to protect older persons with chronic health conditions who are considered at high risk for exposure to influenza, invasive pneumococcal disease (e.g., pneumonia, bacteremia, meningitis) and complications.

However, on average, only 42 percent to 66 percent of long-term care residents received these vaccinations, according to a recent National Center for Health Statistics report. Pennsylvania nursing homes rank 38th for residents given the flu shot and 26th for residents given the pneumonia shot, more than three percent below the national average for both shots.

Healthcare workers self-report a low 45 percent participation in getting flu shots, and unvaccinated healthcare workers risk spreading the flu to their long-term care residents and patients. In its Healthy People 2010 goals, the CDC recommends 90 percent vaccination rate for institutionalized adults with high-risk conditions that may contribute to unnecessary outbreaks of flu and pneumonia within long-term care facilities and hospitals.

"The Authority's research shows patients and healthcare workers are not getting immunized when studies show immunizations can prevent flu and pneumonia which causes ninety percent of vaccine preventable deaths in persons sixty-five and older," Mike Doering, executive director of the Pennsylvania Patient
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority
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